As intruduced on the Free Energy page, this term is a recent label for one of the oldest (and still very successful) scams in history: The sale of a perpetuum mobile (PM).
This article tries to collect such attempts worldwide. Please note that use of the term 'free energy' is just one attempt to camouflage the fact that a PM is to be sold. Other common catch words are 'cold fusion', 'zero-point energy' and a plethora of senseless hogwash to fool the gullible, preferably those with money. Further, such machines are often called converters, pretending energy is only transformed (which is possible within the bounds of the second law of thermodynamics).
- The irish Steorn sports a motor (Orbo) not driven by whiskey but by magnets. Demonstrations have been postponed.
- The german 'Felix Würth' company created a gear that would double torque at same rpm, this doubling energy. Alas, this fine piece of German engineering was no success: The company went bankrupt in 2004. The scam was executed by a group that later performed similar stunts. The case is interesting as it is a kind of 'model case'. It is an example of the methods employed (eg MLM/Network Marketing of 'shares') as well of the problems this poses for the judiciary afterwards: The perpetrators basically got away with it.